Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Attacks in Paris: People Matter

(From BBC News, used w/o permission.)
("The names of victims have started to emerge. Top left to right: Nohemi Gonzalez, Marie Mosser, Djamila Houd. Middle left to right: Juan Alberto Gonzalez, Guillaume Decherf, Nick Alexander. Bottom left to right: Mathieu Hoche, Thomas Ayed, Valentin Ribet"
(BBC News))
"Paris attacks: Who were the victims?"
(November 16, 2015)
"Information about the 129 Paris terror victims has been emerging over the last two days, with France saying more than 103 bodies have now been identified.

"More than 20 foreigners from a number of countries were killed.

"Desperate for any news, relatives and friends of the missing have turned to Twitter to search for their loved ones...."
Another article tells about efforts to find folks who are still missing: either dead, or hospitalized and not able to say who they are. I'll get back to that.

This article gives Djamila Houd's age, and where she was from, but no other details. Marie and Manu's employer had given their personal names, but not their surnames.

A few names from that BBC News article —

"Dado," the nickname of a man killed at the Bataclan. Hugo Sarrade, Cedric Mauduit, Mathieu Hoche, Quentin Boulanger, Guillaume B Decherf, Marie Lausch, Mathias Dymarski, and Lola Salines, had been at the Bataclan, too.

No pressure, and this is just a suggestion: but praying for everyone involved couldn't hurt.


(From Getty Images, via BBC News, used w/o permission.)
("More than 250 people are seriously wounded and not all have been identified"
(BBC News))
"Paris attacks: Search goes on for missing"
BBC News (November 16, 2015)
"Among the many arresting images from Paris since the Friday attacks was that of the distraught father pleading with French Prime Minister Manuel Valls for news of his missing daughter, Nathalie Jardin.

" 'I don't know where my daughter is,' said Patrick Jardin. 'I don't know if she's still alive or in which hospital she might be.' His daughter had been working at the Bataclan concert hall as a lighting director.

"Confirmation of her death emerged on Monday but the search goes on for several others missing since Islamists opened fire on the Bataclan and several other sites in Paris on Friday night....

"...Hospitals in Paris said in a statement on Monday that of the 80 people admitted in a critical condition, 29 remained in intensive care. Another 49 are still being treated but are no longer in a critical condition.

"One nurse posted a message on Sunday saying that some patients who were not in a critical condition had not been identified and were labelled as 'X'...."

(From Twitter, via BBC News, used w/o permission.)
("People took to Twitter to appeal for the search for Lola Ouzounian to continue" (top left)
"Venezuelans have also been tweeting appeals for Sven Alejander Silva" (Top right)
"For days, appeals have been put out to no avail in search of 17-year-old Remi Suquate" (Bottom left)
"One of the missing was named as Jean-Michel Ovide, the father of a friend" (Bottom center)
"Friends took to Facebook and Twitter to appeal for information about Franck Pitiot" (Bottom right)
(BBC News))

Most folks killed in Paris last Friday were French. Many were young. The BBC News article gave ages for 18 victims: nine in their 20s, five in their 30s, three in their 40s, and a man in his 60s. Many were among the 89 killed at the Bataclan concert hall.

Many folks killed at the Garissa University College in Garissa last April were young, too. It may be easier to feel bad when someone with most of life still ahead dies, and that's another topic.

I think it's wrong to kill folks because they're at a restaurant or rock concert. As I keep saying, murder is wrong. (September 27, 2015; September 6, 2015; April 12, 2015)

Life and Love

Murder is wrong because human beings are people: all human beings. Genesis 1:27 says1 we're made "in the divine image."

We are rational and therefore like God, made in the image and likeness of God. We have free will. We can decide to act, or not act. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1730-1825)

All humans are people, with equal dignity: no matter where we are, who we are, or how we act. (Catechism, 360, 1700-1706, 1932-1933, 1935)

Deliberately killing an innocent person, is wrong because human life is sacred. Everyone's life is precious. (Catechism, 2258, 2268-2283)

By "everyone," I mean everyone: including the folks who murdered innocent people in Paris.

My faith says that I mus love God, love my neighbors, see everyone as my neighbor, and treat others as I'd like to be treated. (Matthew 5:43-44, 7:12, 22:36-40, Mark 12:28-31; Luke 6:31 10:25-27, 29-37; Catechism, 1789)

At the moment, I don't feel all warm and fuzzy about ISIS leaders and many American governors — I'll get back to that — but I must love them.

That does not mean that I think France should stop acting against ISIS.

Governments are obliged to protect their citizens, citizens have a responsibility to cooperate with their country in its defense — and governments must let citizens who are pacifists serve their country in other ways. (Catechism, 2310-2317)

My faith doesn't require me to let someone kill me. My life is important, too. Interestingly, the rules for individual defense and national defense are very similar: and nowhere near 'I thought he was going to kill me, so I killed him first.' (2263-2267, 2307-2317)
"Love toward oneself remains a fundamental principle of morality. Therefore it is legitimate to insist on respect for one's own right to life. Someone who defends his life is not guilty of murder even if he is forced to deal his aggressor a lethal blow:
If a man in self-defense uses more than necessary violence, it will be unlawful: whereas if he repels force with moderation, his defense will be lawful. . . . Nor is it necessary for salvation that a man omit the act of moderate self-defense to avoid killing the other man, since one is bound to take more care of one's own life than of another's.66"
(Catechism, 2264)
The basics are simple: I must love God, my neighbor, and myself. Applying those simple principles gets complicated: or difficult, at any rate:

It Could Be Worse

(Screen capture from BBC News video, used w/o permission.)
("Many US states say they will no longer welcome Syrian refugees"
(BBC News))
"Paris attacks: US states halt taking Syrian refugees"
BBC News (November 16, 2015 (November 17 in UK))

"More than a dozen US states say Syrian refugees are no longer welcome due to security fears after the Paris attacks.

"Governor Rick Snyder of Michigan said he was suspending the acceptance of new arrivals until after a review.

"Alabama, Texas and several other states issued similar statements but a State Department spokesman said the legality of this action was still unclear...."
Since a poll showed that 52% of Americans felt 'less safe' with Syrian refugees coming into the United States, I can see why state governors might want to keep those particular foreigners out. There's a major election coming up next year.

Only 17 state leaders had jumped on this bandwagon when the BBC News article came out:
  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Louisiana
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Mississippi
  • New Hampshire
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • Texas
  • Wisconsin
    (source: BBC News)
A few hour later, more than half the states were saying 'no' to Syrians seeking refuge here:
  • States whose governors oppose Syrian refugees moving in
    • Alabama
    • Arizona
    • Arkansas
    • Florida
    • Georgia
    • Idaho
    • Illinois
    • Indiana
    • Iowa
    • Kansas
    • Louisiana
    • Maine
    • Massachusetts
    • Michigan
    • Mississippi
    • Nebraska
    • New Hampshire
    • New Jersey
    • New Mexico
    • North Carolina
    • Ohio
    • Oklahoma
    • South Carolina
    • Tennessee
    • Texas
    • Wisconsin
  • States whose governors say they will accept refugees
    • Colorado
    • Connecticut
    • Delaware
    • Hawaii
    • Pennsylvania
    • Vermont
    • Washington
      (Source: CNN)
I draw a measure of relief that governors of my two 'home' states, North Dakota and Minnesota, have had the common decency to keep quiet about this. I am not among the 52% who would feel 'safer,' knowing that my political leaders were refusing sanctuary to folks — based on national origin.

Here's a map of the situation, as of last night:

(From CNN, used w/o permission.)

It could be worse.

The President could be signing an order to round up American citizens with Syrian ancestry.

Something like that happened before.

On February 19, 1942, during World War II, Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066.

Folks whose crime was having 'un-American' ancestors were rounded up and herded into internment camps. Many had their property confiscated. About two thirds of the Japanese were American citizens, many others had lived here for decades. German-Americans and Italian-Americans were blacklisted, too.

The good news is that the roughly 120,000 men, women, and children whose ancestors were Japanese were not killed. Eventually, after wartime hysteria cooled down, they were released.

Decades later, in 1988, Public Law 100-383 even acknowledged that the Roosevelt administration might have made a mistake.

Still later, the Department of Justice got around to looking for the folks whose property was legally stolen — "Justice Department Announces Potential Eligibility of Japanese Americans Who Lived in Phoenix Area for Redress Payments."

The Department of Justice announcement was dated August 3, 1994 — 52 years after the roundup was okayed.

Exodus 20:15 and Deuteronomy 5:19 say the same thing: "you shall not steal." Respect for legitimate authority is part of my faith: but that does not mean that someone who has political or economic power can ignore rules that apply to 'ordinary' people. Stealing is stealing: even if the President rewrote part of the Decalogue. (Catechism, 1897-1917, 2401, 2408-2409)

And that's yet another topic.

'A Stranger, and You Slammed the Door in my Face'

There's a somewhat-corny poem associated with a statue in New York Harbor:
"...A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles....

"...'Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!'...
("The New Colossus," Emma Lazarus, via Wikipedia)2
That's a nice sentiment, and as a Euro-American I'm in no position to argue against letting foreigners into 'my' country.

More the point, I'm a Catholic, so I must think that "alleviating the miseries of refugees" is important. (Catechism, 1911)
"The more prosperous nations are obliged, to the extent they are able, to welcome the foreigner in search of the security and the means of livelihood which he cannot find in his country of origin. Public authorities should see to it that the natural right is respected that places a guest under the protection of those who receive him.
"Political authorities, for the sake of the common good for which they are responsible, may make the exercise of the right to immigrate subject to various juridical conditions, especially with regard to the immigrants' duties toward their country of adoption. Immigrants are obliged to respect with gratitude the material and spiritual heritage of the country that receives them, to obey its laws and to assist in carrying civic burdens."
(Catechism, 2241)
The last I checked, the United States is still one of "the more prosperous nations." With a population of around 322,000,000, I think we can handle the economic burden of reviewing entry requests for around 10,000 refugees from Syria.

I also think careful background checks make sense. A few of those Syrians might be terrorists. So might folks coming from France, Belgium, or any other nation.

But — governors appealing to nativism or fear notwithstanding — I am pretty sure that most of those Syrians are fleeing terrorists: and hope that the United States and countries in Europe give them a chance to live.

I'll admit to a bias. Many of my ancestors were "of low type," and regarded as a threat to America. (September 25, 2015; September 18, 2015; June 21, 2015)

A few words about strangers and getting a grip, and I'm done for today.
"5 Had not the men of my tent exclaimed, 'Who has not been fed with his meat!'

"Because no stranger lodged in the street, but I opened my door to wayfarers -...."
(Job 31:31-32)

"The LORD protects the stranger, sustains the orphan and the widow, but thwarts the way of the wicked."
(Psalms 146:9)

"Then the king will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.

"For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me,

"naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.' "
(Matthew 25:34-36)
More of my take on living in a big world:

1 I must take the Bible, Sacred Scripture, seriously. (Catechism, 101-133)

But I must not pick a few verses I like and warp them around my personal preferences.
2 As a descendant of the "wretched refuse," I think this is a good idea:


Strahlen Smith said...

Thanks for this post. Paris is so sad and scary. I am not sure I welcome the Syrian refuges or would want them moving in next door. I am not sure I don't either. It's such a heartbreaking situation. I am hoping Paris finally shines a light on the refugee situation and on persecuted Christians in general. They are a group we have turned out backs on for far too long!

Brian Gill said...

You are quite welcome.

About refugees, Syrian or otherwise, I sympathize.

However: the United States has plenty of room; we're far from poverty-stricken; and I can think of no good reason for rejecting anyone, simply because they come from the 'wrong' place.

Maybe that's easy for me to say, since central Minnesota is far from any major port-of-entry.

On the other hand, Somali refugee families moved to towns near here. It wasn't the climate that attracted them: poultry farming is a major industry here, and folks don't need well-developed English language skills to work in poultry processing plants.

St. Cloud, Minnesota, about an hour down the road, got what I understand is at least one pretty good new coffee house out of that: so I think we benefited from the situation.

Brigid said...

I'm not sure if something's missing or if this is an editing artifact: "Marie and Manu's employer had given their personal names, but not their surnames. on Twitter, but did not provide their surnames."

The Friendly Neighborhood Proofreader

Brian Gill said...

Editing artifact, is my guess. Fixed, and thanks, Brigid!

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From time to time, a service that I use will display links to - odd - services and retailers.

I block a few of the more obvious dubious advertisers.

For example: psychic anything, numerology, mediums, and related practices are on the no-no list for Catholics. It has to do with the Church's stand on divination. I try to block those ads.

Sometime regrettable advertisements get through, anyway.

Bottom line? What that service displays reflects the local culture's norms, - not Catholic teaching.